Sunday, March 30, 2014

Airframe - Book Review

After a recent reshuffling of desks around our office, this book was left behind at a co-worker's desk (along with a stack of others).  The new cubicle resident placed all of the vacated books on her desk for anyone to take.  The pages of this one were yellowed and slightly crispy with age (it was first published in 1996), but I grabbed it because it looked interesting.

The plot of this book revolves around a fictional mid-air commercial airline incident that caused multiple injuries and deaths.  Since I've been working at GE Aviation for almost two years now, I found myself relating to and appreciating much of the terminology and details that were used throughout the course of the plot's investigation.  Because GE's primary product is only the jet engines for the aircraft, there was a lot of information about the airframe itself that I was unfamiliar with, but still really enjoyed learning about.  The book was written and published in the 1990s though, so some of the technology that was used in the story (faxes, microfiche, no email, no cell phones) was simuultaneously entertaining and also slightly annoying.

The main character, Casey Singleton, was enjoyable to follow, as she was somewhat of a working class lady who was climbing her way up the Norton company ladder (which was the fictional airframe company presented in the story).  What was even more appealing about her though was that she wasn't necessarily trying to get to the top, but because she was smart as a whip and hard working, she was naturally being given more and more responsibility.

The answer to the plot's mystery was revealed in various stages through the story, but the answer still wasn't clear until the very end of it.  I guess that's normal for a good fiction mystery/drama, but I really enjoyed it.  In addition to being a well executed suspense novel, a bonus was revealed when I read the Wikipedia entry about this book - that this plot's accident revolves around a combination of various real-life airline crashes.  Overall it was a great story, and one that I would recommend for most readers, but especially for fellow aviation employees or enthusiasts.

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